Cuba Travel News: Fly Off to Havana (Now Legally)

Posted by Doug Stallings on June 30, 2011 at 4:57:32 PM EDT | Post a Comment
For the first time since 2004, when the George W. Bush administration cancelled so-called "people-to-people" licenses for companies offering cultural travel to Cuba, Americans can once again go there legally—and without applying to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for a special license to travel. Cuba-car-green-colorful.jpg At this writing, more companies are expected to receive the same license soon so check back here for more updates soon. Tip: Demand is expected to be high so book soon if you see a trip you like.

Packages Available with Insight Cuba

Insight Cuba (800/450–2822) has just been granted a license to offer cultural tours to Cuba, and these small-group trips (limited to 16 persons) are available to the general public, including Americans. According to Insight Cuba's Director Tom Popper, "We've been preparing for the possibility of again offering our Cuba programs since August 2010, when reports surfaced that President Obama was going to ease the travel Restrictions." Those restrictions were lifted in mid-January and the company's license was just approved late June.

The Details

The company will offer six different tours, and the first departures will leave on August 11. Trips, which begin at $1,695 for a 4-day/3-night weekend trip (off-season) to Havana, go up to $4,095 for a 9-day/8-night "Cuban Music and Art" trip (peak season). Single supplements are modest, at $300 ($200 for the weekend trips). Itineraries include all meals, admission costs, and travel within the country, but they do not include tips or other extras. This is an important consideration since U.S. credit and debit cards cannot be used in Cuba, so you'll have to carry enough cash to pay for souvenirs, snacks, or anything the tour does not cover. Nor do the tour costs include airfare to Havana, which will be done on already-established charter flights from Miami and will add about $500 to the cost of the trip (more, really, since you still have to get to Miami for the charter flight). Insight Cuba has already reserved seats on these flights for tour participants, but you'll have to book your flight directly through Insight Cuba once you are confirmed on a tour.

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Photo credit: istock / Peeter Viisimaa

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Member Comments (10)  Post a Comment

  • Doug_Stallings Fodor's editor on Jul 21, 11 at 02:43 PM

    And you can now add Globus to the list of companies offering group trips to Cuba in the "people to people" license scheme. Bookings are going to be available starting August 10, but I don't see any mention of Cuba yet on the company's web site. A press release earlier today gave 866-313-2855 as the number conumers can call for more information. The tour is called "Cuba: Historical and Cultural Journey," and it begins at $2,889 for the week-long trip (land only ... you'll also have to book a charter flight for about $500). These first trips are religious in nature and are being run in conjunction with the Center for Caribbean Religion & Culture, which has long had mission trips to Cuba. But the trips will be expanded.

  • Cate_W Fodor's editor on Jul 20, 11 at 03:38 PM

    And today Abercrombie & Kent announced they are offering Cuba tours starting this fall: http://www.abercrombiekent.co.uk/cuba/

    Is anyone planning on booking any of these trips?

  • arimar1220 on Jul 7, 11 at 11:49 AM

    I just subscribe to Fodor’s to be able to write my comment about Cuba.
    I’m a proud Cuban but from the old Cuban generation, (unfortunately there is a big difference among the new ones and the old) I been leaving in this country (43 years) longer that I did on my own.
    I went back to Cuba after 30 years of been absent just to please my old father (84 years old that still have close relatives leaving in that jail) which by no means will I ever let him go by himself; do to the way Cuban authorities will treat us, for the only reason of have not agree with the Communist system implanted 53 years ago.
    It is shame that Cubans are no allow to be free and not able to visit all those beautiful places that tourist with American dollars can get into and enjoy. We did, because as you all may imagine we became American citizen long ago, and proud of been one. But please remember that when you are visiting any country with a system of government as Cuba have, in which there have not been free election for 53 years, you are not only helping the system to continue and be stronger because the money you will be expending there will not go to the people of Cuba, on the contrary will make the Cubans to continue with that system of oppression and misery they have had for the last 53 years. I do encourage everyone to visit the island it is really beautiful , but I also encourage anyone going there to try to be on your own in occasion to see for yourself how people feels and the condition under they are leaving, talk to people and see the real Cuba.
    I don’t think I never go back because I don’t feel like I belong there any more it is sad to say and fell like that but is our reality.
    Hope I have help to understand the Cuban reality at least a little.

  • Cate_W Fodor's editor on Jul 7, 11 at 09:20 AM

    Hi Veta - you should contact Insight Cuba directly for details on specific departures: 800/450–2822, http://www.insightcuba.com/

  • bulldozer on Jul 6, 11 at 10:11 PM

    We are interested in this tour, but please give us complete costs from Columbia, South Carolina and the return, thank you. Veta Hollaway

  • Ikenuma on Jul 6, 11 at 12:38 PM

    wonderful, beautiful country of friendly people. Succeeding against all the odds.

  • alicef8770 on Jul 6, 11 at 11:58 AM

    I went to Cuba in 2003 - at that time was in a city that had many open artist studios clustered around the central square, can't remember the name of the city -
    does anyone know? thanks

  • Scootoir on Jul 6, 11 at 10:16 AM

    And Cubans can now travel to the US as well?

  • NancyD9393 on Jul 6, 11 at 10:12 AM

    it's about time. How stupid this has all been, for far too long. Sadly, I'm sure there are rich americans waiting to own Cuba and ruin it's charm, within the next couple of decades.

  • thephuong8xvn on Jul 1, 11 at 03:01 AM

    Cuba is an extraordinary country, the country has overcome ourselves, to overcome the economic sanctions, overcome difficulties, I admire you, beloved Cuba

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